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Don't Talk to Strangers

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Don't Talk to Strangers

by Unknown

Published ca. 1950s

Dramatized film warning children of the dangers of strangers.

Run time 13:05
Producer Unknown
Sponsor City of Fresno, Police Department
Audio/Visual Sd, C




Reviewer: Love thy neighbour - favoritefavoritefavorite - March 30, 2006
Subject: License plate number
I love the way the little girl refuses, then walks to the back of the car casually and takes the number down. i love the actions in this movie.
Such as the mother pushing the child away (*child abuse*)and then shaking her head in a strange manner to imply that she doesn't believe her daughter. It's a bit much to be honest but weren't all movies like that in those days?
Reviewer: Christine Hennig - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 23, 2005
Subject: You Say a Strange Man Tried to Lure You Into His Car? Don't Bother Me, Earline, I'm Making Dinner!
A little girl named Earline encounters a man on her way home from school who tries to lure her into his car. Obviously, sheÂs watched plenty of Sid Davis films at school, because she immediately turns him down and writes down the license number of the car. Then she takes this information home to her mother, who, amazingly, blows it off. So the next day, the man manages to successfully pick up a classmate of hers who must have been sick during the showing of The Dangerous Stranger. When her mother calls the school to inform them that her daughter didnÂt make it home, the principal conducts a search of the playground, asking every kid there whether or not they saw the missing girl. None of them did, except for one plucky little boy who saw the girl get into the manÂs car. At this point, the police are called, and they go through an excruciatingly long process of calling in detectives (including a female detective with catÂs eye glasses that have to be seen to be believed), questioning all the children again, sending out an APB, and patrolling the streets at about 15 miles an hour. Fortunately, the child molester turns out to be too neurotic to work quickly, so by the time a police officer spots his car and picks him up, the girl is unharmed. (In real life, she would have been raped, dead, and buried in a field somewhere by that time, hence the Amber Alert.) All this is told through narration, with overly-dramatic music on the soundtrack. Then the movie focuses on prevention, which amounts to stating that this never happens to nice families who have regular bedtimes for the children. The narrator tells us that EarlineÂs mom feels guilty for ignoring her childÂs report of the strange man, but this is said over footage of her blithely reading a magazine, looking like she hasnÂt a care in the world. In this film, the only smart people appear to be the kids. Watch for the cheesy title cards made with plastic letters and the scary drawing Earline made to go with her theme on dental care.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.
Reviewer: Marysz - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 8, 2004
Subject: Moms Beware
A 1950 film with an appropriately ominous musical score warns parents about the danger of child molesters. Arlene Williams is offered a ride by a man waiting in a car outside of the school playground. She runs away, but stops to write down the license plate number. But when she tells her mom about it, she gets the brush-off. But the next day a little girl not as cautious as Arlene gets in the manÃÂs car.

Despite its calamitous music, this film isnÃÂt as spooky as two Sid Davis films in the Archives with similar themes, ÃÂThe Strange OnesÃÂ and ÃÂBoys Beware.ÃÂ In this film, we see the predator in series of close-ups; in DavisÃÂs films the molesters are shadowy figures. The facelessness of the men in the Davis films makes them all the more frightening and heightens our sense of the childrenÃÂs isolation and vulnerability.

This films ends with a shot of Arlene and her little sister watching TV in a typical sparse fifties living room. Her mom and dad sit in easy chairs on either side of the girls. Mr. Williams reads the newspaper. Mrs. Williams appears to be reading a magazine, but we know sheÃÂs feeling guilty for ignoring ArleneÃÂs story. Fortunately, the film isnÃÂt too hard on her.
Reviewer: DrAwkward - favoritefavorite - October 21, 2003
Subject: Don't Talk
The strange weakness of this film is the fact that it is told entirely by the voiceover. It leads one to think that an entirely different film was made and was perhaps too problematic to be shown in schools and therefore had to be radically reconceived. The music is way too dramatic, perhaps to compensate for the fact that the characters (who all seem to be speaking lines from a script that we'll never hear) are practically kept under glass. At the end, the film undermines its message with a disturbingly happy ending and a platitude about the family. Yet anything this film has to say about the family is subtly undermined by the fact that the child molestor is wearing a wedding ring...
Reviewer: dynayellow - favoritefavoritefavorite - September 17, 2003
Subject: Also, don't talk to your mother
Yikes... after spending the money for a full orchestral arrangement, they didn't have any left to hire actors.

Kinda weird to think back in the 50s, some parents wouldn't be worried that someone tried to pick their kid up. It all ends with the advice that a strong, moral family will prevent this sort of thing.
Reviewer: Spuzz - favoritefavoritefavorite - April 25, 2003
Subject: Effective, but overblown
This interesting film about child molesters and their motives starts off strong, with a fade in to a clode up to a man, his face nervously darting at the school, looking for his next victim, to a great choice of ominous music. You immediately feel uncomfortable about what is going to happen. Soon, cheap titles appear and well, it sort of goes downhill from there, with implausibilities, passive behavior and ridiculous music. The problems start early when a child almost abducted, but the kid runs away and takes down the licence number. The kid goes to his mother... who does'nt do anything!! Now, either this is the most implausible concept ever imagined, or there are SERIOUS things wrong in Sacramento. Soon, the moleste is successful in taking a kid, (with marbles!!) and when the mother phones into the school, to report her kid didn't come home, the music SWELLS as the secretary... takes down the information! It's soon obvious that the music is totally wrong for this piece. Soon the cop comes and the principal talk rather too calmly, which is a little too unsettling, as I think something like this should be treated with a little more urgency. The film then takes a total oddball turn with the showing up of the juvenile officers, who it seems just returned from a night on the town. The officers are TOTALLY overdressed, the woman looking quite attractive in her dress and matching earrings. Soon the whole thing concludes, with a rather oblique warning to parents to watch your kids, but it doesn't look, according to this film, that noone REALLY cares..
Reviewer: RedAliCat - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 21, 2003
Subject: Well done.
For an ephemeral film, it's very well made (good camera shots, better acting, music score, etc.). Rather scary if meant for young kids, but perhaps that was the point. Does well at outlining a kidnapping from beginning to end. Falls flat when talking about the strong family unit preventing such catastrophes, stating indirectly that the first child propositioned took down the license plate and ran away because her parents stuck to rules such as a set bedtime (?). Otherwise, very good.
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